During a recent Campus Suite Academy webinar, Making the Most of School Social Media in 2018 (see the webinar video here), we had many questions from registered attendees and didn’t have time to get to all of them. We've pulled together the answers to many of these shared, big questions about using school social media in 2018.
Thanks to all who participated, and let us know if you have any questions yourself about how social media fits into your school’s total digital communications mix.
Q: Do you have any recommendations for helping plan and schedule our school social media? – Sandi
A: There are a few social media content calendar templates available online. Good news is that most of them are free. Hubspot offers their social media content calendar and planner and you can download it here. Hootsuite, one of the programs Steve Williams touched on during our webinar, also has some free calendar planning templates. Keep in mind, some of the free templates you find online are geared more for business rather than schools, so you may have to do some adapting.
Q: How do we gain followers? – Pat
A: The best way to gain followers is to follow others. Also, with Twitter, effective use of hashtags will help you find others interested in your school or topics associated with your school. Please refer to our School Social Media Guide, for more tips on boosting your following.
Q: Is there a way to backup or store our social media posts? – John
A: Yes there is. There are several ways, in fact. Archiving your school’s social media posts is a smart practice. Facebook and Twitter have archiving built in: for Facebook, you can download a copy of your data in the Account Settings page. With Twitter, you can request an archive in the settings gear icon and follow the instructions to receive the download. SocialSafe is a popular app that provides some additional features; they’re the category leader and you can download that app from a variety of download sites. Fellow webinar attendee Kristin in Wisconsin recommends ArchiveSocial. Thanks, Kristin.
Q: Do you recommend a social media policy that includes behavior for students and parents associated with the school? – Celeste
A: Yes. Your entire school community – students, staff, parents, et. al. – need to be made aware of and included in your school’s social media policy. Please refer to our School Social Media Guide, a free download, for creating an inclusive social media policy for your school.
Q: What do you recommend for an accessibility audit for social media? Tips? Things to consider? – Alison
A: Accessibility is a huge issue for schools these days. School websites are required to be accessible to those with disabilities, and many schools are being pressured by individuals or advocacy groups to make their websites and other electronic documents and communications ADA compliant and fully accessible. Start with this article on How to Conduct a School Website Accessibility Audit. Also, here’s a good overview on the subject of school website accessibility, and bookmark the School Website Accessibility and ADA Education Center for many resources (free how-to videos, guides, articles and downloads).
Q: How do you go about claiming an ‘unofficial’ Facebook page? Some of our schools encounter unofficial pages and don’t know where to begin to get those pages in their possession. – Margaret
A: These ‘rogue’ Facebook pages, while most times well intended, are a major problem for schools from an image and liability standpoint. Perhaps years ago a teacher created a page for your school or maybe you see that FB automatically generated a page because of interest from others on FB. In the latter case, you can contact FB, prove you’re the real deal, then they’ll delete the page. If it’s a page actually created by someone else, simply ask them to take it down. Now, it’s not always that simple, so that’s why on such matters I always yield to social media expert Andrea Gribble at SocialSchool4Edu. This article from her dives into how to handle unofficial Facebook pages, and points you to info on how to merges FB pages.
Q: Do you know of any programs that can produce the closed captions for videos? This would be helpful for Facebook and YouTube. – Ben
A: Yes. It’s important that not only your website content be fully accessible to people with disabilities, but any video you post to your school social media accounts should also be accessible. This includes Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo and any other video. We use www.3playmedia.com for our school customers. Jason Morgan, our vice president of production who presented a webinar recently on How to Make School Website Documents and PDFs Accessible, recommends 3playmedia. He also cautions that while Youtube automatically creates captions when you upload a video, it’s not perfect and doesn’t catch all the words accurately, but you can go in and edit them.
Q: Does it matter if you post every day at the same exact time every day? – Rose
A: As a rule, it’s a good idea to change up the times of day you schedule your posts. Scheduling your posts is part art and part science. If you consider yourself a typical social media user, think of your own habits and patterns. Or, if you’re not a big SM user yourself, ask some parents. First thing in the AM, mid-day, afternoon, early evening is how I recommend you break down the day. Also, people crave immediacy these days, so if you are posting about an event that’s happening in the here and now, post it here and now. A basketball game that ends at 9:30 pm should have its results posted right away, for example. Fresh content is great any time of day.
Q: Is there a way to have an online live stream accessible for people with hearing or other disabilities? – Holly
A: Facebook Live streams (1 in 5 FB-created videos is live, according to FB) now support closed captioning. You’ll need a third-party tool or caption provider such as Ai-Media or Telestream.
Q: Can you control who comments in Twitter? – Lorraine
A: I am assuming you might want to eliminate a negative comment on your school’s Twitter feed. You can delete a follower by blocking his or her account. Just Tap the Followers option, find the person you want to block and vamoose, gone! Using Twitter’s home timeline you can control interactions like unfollow, mute, block, report, and some other options. TIP: make sure you’re taking full advantage of Twitter’s Notification Timeline, which enables you to see how others are interacting with you. From there you can see which of your Tweets have been liked, Retweeted, who your new followers are, and keep track of your replies and mentions. This support page on controlling your Twitter experience is a good reference to get the most out of using Twitter for your school.
Q: For Facebook Live, what kind of equipment do you recommend?
A: Part of the beauty of Facebook Live is the simplicity of it all. Any standard smartphone is really all you need. If you’re going to ramp it up some, an external web camera is the way to go, but you’ll need an HDMI capture card if you’re editing from your desktop. You can get a microphone with a USB connector. A lavaliere (lapel) mic is good for enhanced sound quality if you’re going to be doing a lot of interviews. Open Broadcaster Software is an open-source tool that you or your AV manager might want to look into if you want to dive into creating more ‘produced’ live broadcasts and videos. But, if it were me, I’d start with a smartphone, and maybe a $10 smartphone tripod mount. Check out this article about using Facebook Live to pomote your school.
If you have any questions about making more of social media for your school, let us know.
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @jay4schools.